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TIME OUT IN BARBADOS - A WINTER ESCAPE
 
(2011 - Winter/Spring Issue)

Writer: BY PAUL W. FITZGERALD



IT SURE SEEMED ODD PACKING SUMMER CLOTHES IN EARLY FEBRUARY FOR A TRIP TO BARBADOS. 

But once I arrived it all made sense. The hot sun beamed down as I stood on a white, sandy beach looking out across the blue sea. I felt alive and free. Winter seemed just a thing of the past. And so did work.

While settling into a private villa nestled along Glitter Bay—a locale dubbed by locals and tourists alike as the “Platinum Coast”—I had a hunch I was in for seven tranquil days in Barbados.

A Warm Welcome

I was right.

On my first night I sampled an array of dishes ranging from seafood to steak at the “Barbecue Experience at Bajan Blue” at Sandy Lane. It was more than satisfying and the place was a great welcome to the island.

After dinner, as a reggae band performed, I sipped on a strawberry daiquiri and soaked up the sights and sounds around me. Reflecting the moon and stars overhead, the water was so calm it looked like a flat mirror, which seemed to go on forever.

Hitting the Links

The following day began with an early walk on the beach, and then I was off to the Sandy Lane Golf Course, a popular course on the island designed by Tom Fazio. Many golf heroes from the PGA and LPGA have played here. Being an amateur, I was assured it was also “forgiving,” which is why I checked it out. The fairways and greens were surrounded by palm trees and each hole offered a magnificent view of the sea. The course also had a huge clubhouse, which served the finest crab, lobster and steak as well as a plentiful selection of pasta dishes. The clubhouse also featured a breathtaking view of the course and its sister golf course, the Green Monkey, another Tom Fazio design.

Winter seemed a lifetime away.

Sights and Sounds

That evening found me dining at the Mews on Second Street in Holetown, an area that is home to a variety of restaurants and bars housed in chattel-style buildings. If you’re into music and nightlife, this is where visitors and locals mingle for fun-filled Caribbean nights—seven days a week.

Over the next few days I checked out more of the island. Speightstown was small and close to a lot of sugar cane fields, the island’s staple economy. The town had plenty of little shops and restaurants, surrounded by small cottage-style homes and churches, some made of wood and others of brick. If you’re looking to meet locals, this is the place to go. I never met so many friendly people in my life. As one local said, “We live in the land of sun; we are happy and we want everyone to be happy, man.”

If you like shopping and dining, as well as taking in local history, make sure you visit the island’s capital city, Bridgetown, where there is no shortage of duty-free shops, which offer the best in jewellery and popular brand-name clothing. The boardwalk was surrounded by hundreds of yachts from around the world—each proudly displaying its country’s flag.

And there certainly was no shortage of beaches on the island. Driving around the island, I was in awe of the sea views, the surfers out on the water and local cricket matches. Life’s good here, I quickly realized.

The last day in Barbados was spent on board an all-day catamaran cruise. A number of tours depart from the old Bridgetown port and they all venture along the “Platinum Coast.” Shortly into our trip, our captain stopped the boat so we could watch a pod of large whales. It was magnificent to see marine life thriving before our eyes. While out at sea, we also had the chance to snorkel around an old pirate shipwreck not far from land.

My final night was spent tasting all sorts of seafood and delicious desserts. Before retiring to bed I sat on my balcony, which overlooked the sea, to enjoy a cold Banks beer. I would soon be heading back to the cold winter and the hectic pace of big city life.

I was sad to leave. I took another sip of my Banks, smiled and promised myself, “I shall return.”

Travel Planner

Air Canada (aircanada.com) offers non-stop service to Barbados from Toronto and Montréal, with convenient connections from other Canadian gateways. For more information on Barbados, visit Barbados Tourism Authority at visitbarbados.org or call 1-888-BARBADOS.

 
 
 
 
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